Ecobank, the Pan African Bank has stepped up efforts to increase its market share in the agricultural sector by providing an array of products and solutions aimed at boosting farming and the agricultural value chain.
At a meeting held in Nyeri that brought together the County leadership and over 100 Farmers’ Cooperative Societies from Nyeri and the wider Mount Kenya region, Ecobank said it was keen on helping national and county governments improve agri-business and food security by expanding access to finance and providing products and solutions that specifically target agriculture.
One of the commitments the pan-African bank is making is to provide credit facilities to support acquisition of agricultural equipment and infrastructure such as storage facilities and dairy cooling plants as well as trade finance to address immediate working capital needs for farmers, saccos and organisations involved in the agri-business value chain. While speaking at the meeting, Ecobank Kenya EAC Director of Commercial Banking Mr. Samuel Odhiambo said: “We recognise the important role that agriculture plays in food security and employment in Kenya and that is why we have designated agricultural financing as a key focus area. We have set aside an initial fund of KES 1 billion to support coffee, tea and dairy sectors in Nyeri County and the greater Mt. Kenya region.The money will be available for lending to farmers and organisations that meet the minimum criteria set by the Bank.” He added that the Bank was in discussions with the farmers’ co-operative societies to develop a custom-made co-operative account package that accurately fits their unique banking needs, in addition to providing investment solutions, foreign exchange services, insurance services and a wide range of cash management solutions.”
Ecobank, he said, will tap into experience gained from its wider pan-Africa competencies in banking the agricultural sectors to offer better solutions to the Kenyan market. This includes leveraging its capacity-building initiatives to walk farmers through a wealth-building path for profitable and sustainable agricultural activities.
The event was graced by Nyeri Governor H.E. Mutahi Kahiga who was the key guest, Nyeri County CEC Trade, Culture, Tourism and Cooperative Development Mr. George Mwangi, Kenya National Chamber of Commerce and Industry Nyeri chapter Chairperson Mr. Ibrahim Ndegwa and the Director of Cooperatives for Nyeri County, Mr. Peter Theuri.
In his address, Nyeri Governor, H.E. Mutahi Kahiga said that he appreciated the role Ecobank was playing in supporting the agricultural sector in Nyeri county given the sector’s significant role as a major income earner and source of employment.
“A huge percentage of people in this country rely on agriculture for their survival and it is through such interventions that we will be able to commercialise it and improve earnings for our farmers,” the Governor said, while challenging the Bank to come up with products that would be able to address the financial needs of cooperatives.